Attending a swimming camp or clinic is a good idea during the recruiting process. Camp can help a high school swimmer in a number of ways.
- Instruction provided by knowledgeable college swimming coaches is a great way to improve your technique.
- Swimming camps offer some exposure to college swimming programs. But it’s important for swimming recruits to realize that you’re not going to be “discovered” at a camp. Coaches already familiar with you and your swim times may evaluate your skills more closely at a camp.
- Swimming camp lets you see the form and technique of other swimmers, which can help you improve your own skills.
- Many swimming camps provide tips for when you’re out of the pool, offering a comprehensive overview of strength training and the nutritional needs of swimmers.
- A college swimming camp can give you a good feel for campus life. You get to check out the dorms, see a school’s athletic facilities and experience aspects of the college that might help make your eventual school choice easier.
Choosing a Swimming Camp
Do your research when choosing a swimming camp. And decide if you’re going to a camp mainly to work on your technique, or to gain familiarity with a college swimming program.
If your goal at swimming camp is to improve your technique, learn as much as you can about the coaching staff. What’s their level of experience? Do they have a history of producing talented swimmers?
If you want to feel out a college swimming program, go to a camp at a college that’s recruiting you. It will give you a good chance to see what the swimming scene is like there.
What’s the difference between invite-only “elite” swimming camps, college swimming camps, and private camps and clinics?
Elite swimming camps (like U.S.A. Swimming’s National Select Camp) are generally invitation only, and those invites are given to swimmers with the best times in the country. Because of this, the level of talent at these camps is usually extremely high.
College swimming camps are run by college coaches, and can offer an excellent level of instruction as well. But college swim camps also offer a recruit the chance to get a feel for the swimming program he’s considering. Going to a swimming camp at a school you’re interested in lets you see the school’s campus and athletic facilities, as well as gain some familiarity with the swimming coaches.
Private camps and swimming clinics are not associated with college swim programs. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth going to. There are plenty of high-quality private swimming camps and swimming clinics around the country run by former college swimmers and coaches. If you’re thinking about attending one, find out the qualifications of the staff. If you’re strictly looking for instruction about your technique and other tips to improve your performance, these camps can be a great option.
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